I find that truffles made with wholesome ingredients and flavored with herbs from my apothecary to be a delightfully healthy alternative to the standard box of chocolates. I have adapted the recipes over time to include ingredients I keep in my pantry and herbs I grow in my garden. You can do the same with this simple blueprint.
Step 1: Gather the Ingredients
Instead of being confined to certain measurements, I build my truffles based on a loose proportions. I encourage you to do the same, to allow for experimentation and to more easily incorporate your favorite ingredients. Here is my recommended starting point:
- 2 parts coconut butter, cocoa butter, and/or nut butter
- 2 parts coconut oil
- 1-1½ parts cocoa powder
- 1-2 parts sweetener (honey, maple syrup or agave)
- a dash vanilla extract (to taste)
- 1 part herbal powder or tincture
- Dried herbs or nuts for decorating
Step 2: Mix the Base
Melt the “butters” of choice and coconut oil, and mix together. Remove from heat and add cocoa powder. Add sweetener, adjusting the amount you use to suit your taste. Finish with a dash of vanilla extract.
Step 3: Add the Herbal Flavor
I like to use tinctures, or herbal extracts, to flavor my truffles much like you would use vanilla extract in baking. This is done by infusing herbs in a high-proof liquor, such as vodka or brandy, and should be done at least a month ahead of making your truffles. If you choose to do the same, add your tincture of choice to the base mixture. Alternatively, you can flavor your truffles by mixing in dried herbs—simply use a coffee or spice grinder to process your herb of choice into a fine powder before use. You can do a combination of the two.
The herbs you choose to incorporate into your truffles are limited only by your imagination. You might choose to build your truffles based on flavor or based on the medicinal qualities they impart. To get your brain thinking, here are some herbs I like to use:
- Cayenne: lowers blood pressure, digestion aid
- Damiana: lifts mood and purported aphrodisiac
- Chamomile: soothes restlessness
- Rose: heart tonic
- Lavender: boosts mood and relieves tension
- Orange Peel: boosts mood
- Tusli: relieves stress and boosts stamina
- Turmeric: anti-inflammatory
Step 4: Roll Your Truffles
Allow the truffle mixture to cool until hardened enough to work with. I put mine in the refrigerator to quicken the process, stirring occasionally so the mixture doesn’t clump.
Roll into balls about an inch in diameter, and then dredge in ground herbs or nuts of choice. If you opt for an herb, this can be either the same herb you use to flavor the mixture or a complementary one. Feel free to vary the texture of your herb here—a powdered herb can be equally as pretty as a slightly coarser grind.
Place truffles on a chilled baking sheet, and set in refrigerator to harden all the way. Once the truffles are set, you can package in baggies or boxes for gifts and store them in a cool place.
Be aware that these chocolates won’t end up as sweet as those you buy at the store, though they still make a nice treat after Valentine’s Day dinner. I like to make several different “flavors” for my sweetie, which creates a tasty, colorful gift. Have fun getting creative with your homemade box of herbal chocolates.